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Report: St. Louis Rams Drafted DE Michael Sam In 2014 To Avoid Hard Knocks

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Per Howard Balzer, the Rams had an agreement with the NFL in place that they wouldn't have to appear on HBO's Hard Knocks if they drafted DE Michael Sam, the first publicly gay player to be drafted in the NFL.

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Per Howard Balzer, longtime St. Louis-based NFL reporter, the St. Louis Rams drafted Michael Sam per an agreement with the league to get out of being the team for HBO's Hard Knocks series that year:

There's a strange irony here given that we learned today that the 2016 Los Angeles Rams will be the focus of this season of Hard Knocks.

The implication here is that the 2014 St. Louis Rams didn't want the attention that Hard Knocks brings.

Did they not want it for some reason because they were trying to move the franchise? I'm not sure how a season of Hard Knocks in 2014 would ultimately have impacted the team moving this offseason. Perhaps the hope was to delay it until the move took place to take advantage of the media surge.

Did they not want it because it impacts the team's ability to prepare for the season? Plenty of teams that have been on Hard Knocks have had winning seasons...so nah.

Did they not want it because then-franchise QB Sam Bradford's overwhelming personality would dwarf the ability of the show to feature the backend of the 90-man roster with players trying to survive roster cuts? No.

The Rams drafted Michael Sam with the 249th overall pick, the 34th pick in the seventh round, in the 2014 NFL Draft. He was released in the roster cuts to get down to the 53-man roster ahead of the 2014 season.

Sam is currently under contract with the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.